Eiffel Scholarship: What, How and When?

Eiffel Scholarship: What, How and When?

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris every day? Have you imagine yourself living or studying in France?

I’ve had a dream to live in either one of or all of the three big cities in the world: Paris, London and New York. But, coming from a modest family myself, I knew that it would certainly be impossible for me to realize the dream without a huge chunk of money in my bank. I kept my dream alive anyway, believing in what the famous writer, Paulo Coelho, once said, “When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.Oddly enough, that one particular dream eventually did come true!!

The intention to experience living a Parisian dream, as sparkly as the lights shining from the Eiffel Tower, started when I visited Paris for the first time as a member of the Indonesian delegate for the G20 Youth Summit. Since then, I made a promise to myself to come to Paris again someday but not as a tourist or visitor, but as a (temporary) resident.

I finally came back to Paris, for the second time, as a student and an “official” Paris resident, as an awardee of the Eiffel Scholarship, from the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

What is the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship?

The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs launched the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship in January 1999 to support various institutes of higher education in French, in expanding their international outreach. In my humble opinion, the requirements of this scholarship are not complicated. This scholarship only requires submission of complete documents and no interview.

Some “basic” information about what the Eiffel Scholarship is all about:

1. Eligibility: you are only eligible to be awarded this scholarship if you are enrolled in a Master’s degree course or in colleges awarding an Engineering Science diploma or a PhD course as part of a jointly tutored or jointly supervised thesis with a foreign higher education’s partner. Therefore, the most important thing is that you should apply first to the Master’s or PhD programs at the French higher institutions that you desired for and get accepted prior to apply for the scholarship.

Eligibility for the areas of study covered by the Eiffel scholarship are:
• Engineering at a Master’s degree level, incl. of other sciences in a broader sense but only for PhD level (engineering and exact sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and life sciences, nano- and bio-technology, earth and environmental sciences and information and communication sciences and technology);
• Economics and management;
• Law and political sciences.

Candidates must not be over 30 y.o. for a Master’s scholarship application or over 35 y.o. for a PhD scholarship. Applications from students from outside of France will be given a priority over those who are already studying in France. Thus, for those who are interested in studying in France, you can apply to the French higher education institutions first (Universities or Grandes Ecoles), then after being accepted, you can give it a shot to win this “one-shot” scholarship!

2. The Eiffel program is not applicable to holders of other French government grants or programs, or the receivers of grants from an organization financed wholly or partly by the French government or French territorial authorities, or welfare coverage grants. The candidates who are rejected on their previous selections cannot re-apply again for this scholarship; but this “ineligibility-case” applies only for Master’s degree programs. This is why I mentioned before that Eiffel Scholarship is a “one-shot” program.

Be very careful in preparing your documents for submission and to give the best effort you can because the selection process is based only on the documents that you have and there is no interview (meaning, you need to provide the selection committee with good documentation to convince them). Also, if you failed there will be no chance for applying next year and the selection process is based only on those documents, with no such thing as an interview process.

3. Applications for this scholarship are to be submitted by the French institutions for higher education (the Universities or Grand Ecoles), but NOT by the students. Therefore, it is absolutely important that when you apply to a university, that you try your best to ensure your documents look “attractive” so that the university would choose you to become a scholarship candidate. Also when you apply to a university, do not forget to give notification you are interest in applying for the Eiffel Scholarship after being accepted to the Master’s or PhD degree programs.

In my case, after I was accepted in my program, the admission officer liaised me with the international cooperation officer who was in-charge for the Eiffel Scholarship. The officer then provided me with the information on the scholarship’s selection procedure and the application form, all of these should be sent back to that admission officer. The same officer was the one who sent my documents to the Eiffel Scholarship Committee.

4. The Eiffel Scholarship (except for preparatory course in French, if applicable) program does not cover tuition fees, though the universities concerned are invited to apply for the best possible financial conditions for the Eiffel scholarship-holders. While the enrolment fees at state-run higher education centers are waived for students on French government scholarship programs, the tuition fee is not waived. However, tuition fees for public universities or Grandes Ecoles in France are significantly lower than any other schools in USA, UK or Australia, for example. Annual tuition rates at public institutions are set by law. The rates for the 2012-2013 academic years are €250 for master’s programs and €380 for doctoral program.

For master’s courses, Eiffel scholarship-holders will receive a monthly allowance of EUR 1,181. In addition, the program meets various expenses including return travel, health insurance and cultural activities. Scholarship-holders might also be eligible for additional accommodation allowance. For PhD courses, Eiffel scholarship-holders will receive a monthly allowance of EUR 1,400. In addition, the program meets various expenses including one return trip (single return trip for law and political science students on multiple stays), health insurance and cultural activities. Scholarship-holders might also be eligible for additional accommodation allowance.

Please make a careful calculation here. If you go to private schools with higher tuition fees, of course this scholarship is not enough. But if study in a public school, with the Eiffel scholarships, you will have more than enough!

5. The Eiffel Scholarship only offers opportunities in three areas: science; economics & management; and law & political science. Students targeting careers in education or research should opt for other type of scholarships. The aim of the scholarship is to create future executives or leaders – in their own countries. In your application, you may want to argue that your goal in career is to be an executive, in private or public sector (banks, administration, consulting, international organizations, etc.). Find a way of explaining that your study will provide you with the tool needed to advance your career in your own country.

6. Schedule for the 2013 Eiffel program is as follows:
• Submission of online applications: September 26th, 2012
• Deadline for the receipt of applications by Campus France : January 9th, 2013
• Announcement of results: Week of March 18th, 2013

Results are usually published in March to enable prospective students to give full consideration along with any other offers that they might have; the best students often have competing proposals (including offers on the funding of their studies) from other countries.

For 2014’s applications, you should be able to download the application form since September 2013 then the application will be closed in January 2014 and the results will be announced in March 2014.

Look carefully at the deadlines of applications for each University and Grandes Ecoles. Each educational institution in France has different deadline. It is usually around late November to late December. Each university also needs a proper time in preparing all documents prior to sending the applications to the Eiffel Scholarship’s Committee.

How to prepare documents to apply for the Eiffel Scholarship?

My case was a 2012 scholarship application (if you want, I can also provide you with my documents, just let me know). Read the application form carefully. Since it is only available in French, If you do not understand French at all, you will need to be creative, try using Google Translate or asking the campus-france staff or your friend who can speak French.

In 2012, there were 15 pages in the application form for Master’s degre and 14 pages for Doctoral programs. All of the important information to fill-out the form and to prepare for the document is stated on page 1-6. Since information on page 1-4 can be easily found on the campus-france website, I will only further explain the details of pages 5 and 6:

Pour les deux niveaux (MASTER ET DOCTORAT)
• Le curriculum vitae du (de la) candidat(e), rédige en français ou en anglais, sur une ou deux pages précisant les performances du candidat (mention, rang de classement, nombre d’étudiants de la promotion. Devront figurer les diplômes avec indication de la spécialité, de la date d’obtention, des mentions et/ou des notes finales).
• Le projet professionnel du (de la) candidat(e), rédige en français ou en anglais, sur une ou deux pages. Ce projet doit être structure et ne pas être une simple lettre de motivation.
• Un exemplaire de la charte de qualité, signée par le Chef d’établissement et comportant le cachet de l’établissement.
• Un document synthétique (1 à 2 pages) sur la politique internationale de l’établissement. Ce document devra préciser l’adéquation entre cette politique et le projet du candidat présenté.
• Pour le niveau MASTER uniquement : Les revelés de notes des trois dernières années faisant référence à un parcours académique aussi bien en France qu’a l’étranger.
• Pour le DOCTORAT uniquement : la convention de co-tutelle ou une attestation de co-direction signée par les parties françaises et étrangères.

Below are my interpretations of the above sentences:

• Curriculum vitae (CV) is written in French or English in one or two pages, which should highlight the quality of the candidates, such as the candidate’s ranking in his/her your program, the number of graduates in the class, specialization, starting and completion date of the candidate’s program, among others.
• Professional project is written in French or English in one or two pages. This is DIFFERENT from Motivation Letter. For this document, you will need to elaborate your academic background, professional experience, your motivation in pursuing Masters/ PhD degree, your future career, your contribution to your own country, etc.
• Basically, you are only required to provide three documents (CV, professional project and completed the application form). Thus, it is only three important documents you will submit (excluding the passport, academic transcript and graduate certificate).

However, depending on their own internal procedures, some universities may also require you to provide them with more documents in addition to the basic ones.

(i) Eiffel Scholarship Application Form
You only need to fill out pages 7, 8, 9 as the other pages will be completed by the university that you apply for. What are the contents of those pages?

Page 7 is about your personal data:
• Name of the university who are enrolled for applying Eiffel scholarships (Nom de l’établissement présentant la candidature 2009/2010)
• Family name (NOM)
• First name (prenom)
• Nationality (Nationalité)
• Date of Birth (Date de naissance)
• Gender (sexe)
• Field of study (science d’Ingénieur, economie-gestion, droit-sciences Politiques)
• The current position (à l’Etranger, en France)
• Are currently receiving a scholarship? (bénéficiat-it (elle) d’une bourse)
• Scholarship recipients France? (bourse du Gouvernement français / BGF)
• Address in the country of origin, if the candidate is still in the country of origin (Adresse permanente dans le pays d’origine, phone / telephone, fax / télécopie, email / Mel)
• Address in France, if the candidate is in France (phone / telephone, fax / télécopie, email / Mel)

Page 8 is about the candidate’s educational history:
• Name of the university (Nom de l’établissement)
• Place (Domain d’études); please write down the name of the town where your college bachelor / master / doctorate
• Degree (Nom du Diplôme); this as bachelor of engineering, bachelor of social, etc .
• Date to learn, months – years (Dates – mois et année)
• Records of achievement, such as a special achievement, class rank, etc., which can also be described in the CV (Date d’obtention – notes, mention, rang de classement) -> write a simple one, if you want detail you can write in your CV later on. For example, best of 5% graduates.

Page 9 is about the candidate’s professional experiences, such as:
• Name of the work place (Nom de l’employeur) -> just writes the name of the company / institution where you work for.
• Type of work (Secteur d’activité); please write as the public sector, private sectors, writers, etc.
• Description of work (fonction occupée); please write down what you do and what your responsibility in your office.
• Date (Date – de … à ….); this is when you start working and how long is your work?

Voila! That’s all for the application form and it is only 3 pages!

(ii) Curriculum Vitae
You can write your CV or resumé either in French or English. Please remember to write a maximum of two pages. There is no need to write more than two pages. When I applied this scholarship, I write all my documents in French (Application form, CV and Professional Project). I thought, when I wrote my documents in French, the scholarship committee will be impressed and put me as one of short list candidate. Maybe you also know that the French are very proud of their language and will appreciate your effort in using their language when you are communicating with them.

(iii) Professional Project
In my opinion, this is the most important part of your scholarship documents because this document will enable the scholarship committee to see how qualified you are and what are you going to do after completion of your study in France. Make sure to keep it simple, concise and well structured. Write for a maximum of two pages, either in English or French. Although writing in French might increase your chance to be short-listed, for the reason mentioned above.

It is also always good to have someone else do a proofreading for you, especially if you would like to write it in French. Get a French native speaker to proofread it.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work – Collin Powell. So, there’s no way to can be success without hard work! Hope this writing inspires and helps you to get a better future. Amiiinn! Merci et bon courage! ☺

Note: some part of this writings inspired by Arip Muttaqin (2009’s Eiffel Scholarship Awardee).

Sofwan Hakim is a graduate student in economics at Université Paris 1 Panthéon - Sorbonne. His study focuses on applied economics, including issues on infrastructure investment, environmental governance and economics, as well as the challenges of sustainable development. He worked as a Program Officer at the Ministry of National Planning/National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS). Sofwan earned his Bachelor's degree from the Department of Regional and City Planning at the Institute Technology of Bandung (ITB). He is currently interning at the Asian Development Bank, Southeast Asia Department.
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